You may recall my very enlightening chat with Abraham Lincoln from a few months ago.

Last week I communed with the spirit world once again in hopes of interviewing another famous dead soul. The first one to make himself known was a lovely, warm being, but not the best interview subject. I’m so sorry, Monsieur Marceau. Perhaps another time.

After bidding him adieu, I sat in silence for several minutes. Then I heard something rattle across the floor. It was the pit from a peach I had eaten earlier.

Message from beyond, or cat toy?

Message from beyond, or cat toy?

A strong breeze passed through the room even though the windows were closed. The cord from the blinds began to sway, back and forth. Back and forth. Like a…pendulum.

Waaaaaaaaaaitaminute. Pit and pendulum??

“Mr. Poe!!”

“Blast, you startled me. Now I’ve spilled my wine.”

“Sorry, I’m just so excited, it’s not every day the Master of the Macabre drops by, you know. Here, I’ll pour more wine for us.” I opened a nice cabernet—I thought he would enjoy that (don’t ask for the details on how ghosts drink, it’s very complicated and somewhat messy). We toasted and settled in for a nice chat.

MW: So how have you been? What have you been doing lately?
EAP: For the past year or so I’ve spent much of my time haunting the creators of The Raven in hopes of driving them mad. I think that would be quite fitting. Did you see that movie? It was an abomination.
MW: Yeah. It sucked mightily. I’m sorry, Mr. Poe, you deserved much, much better.
EAP: I agree. And please, call me Edgar. This wine is quite nice, by the way.
MW: Would you care for some more? I’ll top off our glasses. I’m so glad to have this time with you—you died too young. By the way, speaking of people who died too soon, Abraham Lincoln visited me too. Have you met him?
EAP: Oh yes, Abe and I drink together regularly. He’s the best wingman. That “Honest Abe” shtick of his works every time. Me, I just work the “tortured writer” angle. Chicks love that stuff.
MW: So you’re both basically players. Nice.
EAP: Don’t hate the player. Hate the game.
MW: Whatever you say, Edgar.
EAP: You know, it’s too bad I’m not alive now, I’d be a fantastic movie or TV writer.
MW: Yes you would. Do you have any favorite TV shows?
EAP: Twilight Zone was genius, of course. Which reminds me, I’m having brunch with Rod Serling next week. I loved Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The American Horror Story series is excellent too. I also enjoyed WKRP in Cincinnati.
MW: Excuse me?
EAP: Loni Anderson. She was a hot number.
MW: I wouldn’t have expected you of all people to like a sitcom.
EAP: Did you hear me? Loni Anderson. We need more wine, by the way, this bottle is empty.
MW: I’ll get another. So tell me, which movie version of your stories did you like best?
EAP: I liked Pit and the Pendulum with Vincent Price. But I was disappointed that Roger Corman didn’t take more liberties with the stories to give the women skimpier costumes. Vincent is in my regular poker game—he has an amazing poker face. Then there’s Hazel Court, who was in a few other Corman versions. What a great rack. I keep inviting her for a little afternoon delight, with—
MW: Yeah. I don’t want to hear details. Now—
EAP: Have you ever tried absinthe?
MW: Once or twice, yeah.
EAP: I happen to have a bottle with me. Be a lamb and pour us some. Better yet, let’s just drink from the bottle.
MW: We’ve already had a lot of wine, you know.
EAP: Exactly. Now it’s time for some real alcohol (takes a few swigs and drains half the bottle). Here, have a few belts. Now where was I? Oh yes, I was telling you about my torrid affair with Mata Hari. She might have been a spy but I discovered exactly which button to push to get her to reveal her secrets, if you know what I mean…
MW: Eww. No. You weren’t telling me about that.
EAP: No? Oh yes, you’re quite right. It was about my delicious weekend of debauchery with a buxom peasant girl from medieval France. I bent her ov—
MW: No. It wasn’t.
EAP: …that was right before I met some of Nefertiti’s beautiful Nubian handmaidens. Those maidens know how to use their hands all right. And don’t you just love that word, Nuuuuuuuubian. Come on, say it with me.
MW: I don’t want to.
EAP: And then there was the time I met up with some of the Vestal virgins from Rome. Virgin in name only, by the way. They were wild.
MW: I really don’t—
EAP: But nowhere near as wild as Mary Queen of Scots and Queen Mary. I had a threesome with them many years ago. Those Catholic girls really know how to get their freak on. You’re Catholic, right?
MW: Edgar! Give me that absinthe. You’re skeeving me out.
EAP: What a delightful word. Skeeeeeeve.
MW: This conversation makes me want to bathe.
EAP: Excellent idea! Would you like me to scrub your—
MW: Goodnight, Edgar.
EAP: You’ll invite me back soon. You’ll see.

Absinthe

On behalf of Edgar, Madame Weebles would like to apologize to Poe fans, Roger Corman fans, Hazel Court, Catholics, Nefertiti, Nubians, medieval French peasants, Vesta and her virgins, Mata Hari, Mary Queen of Scots, Mary Tudor, and women in general. It was the absinthe talking.

Here’s my problem. It’s about the Hershey bar.

Hershey bar

It’s about this.

Like most other red-blooded Americans, I grew up loving Hershey’s chocolate. Regular Hershey bars, Hershey’s with almonds, Hershey miniatures, Hershey kisses, etc. I wasn’t proud, I’d take any variety that crossed my path.

I was indoctrinated from a young age. As a little kid I visited Hershey, Pennsylvania, and toured the factory. I knew S’mores weren’t complete without a few squares of Hershey’s chocolate. And I saw the commercials proclaiming Hershey’s “the Great American Chocolate Bar.” Mr. Hershey put a lot of effort into creating a delicious, affordable milk chocolate bar for us. He was a true American hero.

Original Hershey bar

Giving America cavities since 1900.

So back to my problem.

After more than 20 years of devotion to Mr. Hershey and his fine products, I went to live in London—a Hershey-free zone. I had to go without my favorite chocolate bars. But you know what they say: if you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with. So I hooked up with Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate.

My British friend with benefits.

My British friend with benefits.

My relationship with Mr. Cadbury’s confections felt perfunctory. Mechanical. Our encounters were zipless fucks.

One day I received a package from a friend at home who took pity on me and my Hershey-less existence. He sent me a big box of Hershey bars and Oreos (another delicacy not found in the UK). I was in heaven. And I wanted to share my bounty with my flatmates. One was from Malaysia and the other was from Greece. Neither of them had first-hand knowledge of the joy of the Hershey bar, although they had certainly heard about them. It was my responsibility as a good American to show them some confectionery examples of our global superiority. We went into the kitchen to enjoy the contents of my care package. There was a Dairy Milk bar sitting on the table so we added that to our feast.

It would be the first time I ever tasted the two chocolates side by side. I ate a piece of Cadbury’s first and then reached for a Hershey bar, fully prepared to bask in smug contentedness.

In stark contrast to the Cadbury chocolate, the Hershey bar tasted like what I imagine passed for chocolate in the former Soviet Union. It wasn’t creamy, and it tasted sort of sour and “off” compared to the smooth sweet flavor of Cadbury. How had I not noticed this before?

I was horrified. Was America’s favorite chocolate bar nothing but a poser? I glanced at my companions, hoping they hadn’t noticed my confusion and despair. But they had. They looked at me with the sort of wincing pity usually reserved for someone who just got an awful haircut and wants to be reassured that it doesn’t look that bad.

I felt duped. I had spent my whole life in the North Korea of chocolate, unaware that a vast, glorious world of better chocolate was out there. I had drunk the chocolate Kool-Aid. The Chocolate Emperor Had No Clothes.

But I knew I couldn’t swear off Hershey’s completely. Eventually I’d go back home and it would be everywhere. The honeymoon period was officially over but that didn’t mean we couldn’t still be together. Instead of looking at Hershey bars with blind adoration, I’d treat them as longtime foil-wrapped little spouses. And you don’t leave foil-wrapped little spouses just because they aren’t perfect.

Don’t get me wrong, I still keep Cadbury around. I’m only human, for crying out loud.

Alone in the dark

Madame Weebles —  August 5, 2013 — 158 Comments

Over the past few weeks I experienced a particularly nasty bout of insomnia (which, fortunately, has resolved). It happens to me from time to time, for no particular reason. When it happens, I have plenty of extra time to think about all kinds of stuff. You may have seen this New Yorker cartoon:

Insomnia Jeopardy

I have played many, many games of Insomnia Jeopardy, and I’ve added a few more categories:

  • Every regret I’ve ever had
  • How much better my life would be if only X, Y, and Z
  • Why X, Y, and Z haven’t happened yet
  • All the things I meant to do that day but didn’t get around to
  • How will I die?
  • Is there anything in the house to eat that doesn’t involve preparation?

I used to get insomnia as a kid too. Even in those days I worried about a lot of things, including but not limited to:

  • Fire
  • Volcanoes
  • Spontaneous human combustion (actually, I still worry about this)
  • Sharks
  • Monsters
  • UFOs
  • Jack the Ripper

(Bear in mind that I watched a lot of In Search Of… with Leonard Nimoy.)

I’ve always had an odd relationship with the dark. I’m a night owl. I’m not afraid of the dark and I actually like it. Except if I can’t sleep, and especially if I’m the only one awake. Then I hate it. HATE IT.

When I was little, I’d lie there in the dark, afraid that I was the only person awake in the entire neighborhood. That terrified me. So I’d look out the window at the buildings across the street. If I saw a light on, or if I saw someone’s television flickering through the curtains, I felt much better. I felt less alone. If nobody’s lights were on, I’d panic. WHAT IF I’M THE ONLY ONE AWAKE??? I guess it never occurred to me that if something horrible happened, I could (and should) wake up my parents. Instead, I periodically peeked through the blinds to see if anyone had turned on a light. I’m happy to report that not once did I spontaneously combust. And nothing else horrible happened—not on my watch. No volcanic activity, UFO landings, shark attacks, monster sightings, 67-alarm fires, or murders by Jack the Ripper. I might have been only a little girl but dammit, I was vigilant.

I don’t really know why I still dread being the only one awake. I’m not afraid to be alone in general. There’s just something about being up while everyone else is sleeping that really unsettles me. During this latest bout of insomnia, I sat on the balcony every night and conducted a visual sweep of my surroundings, looking for signs of life, longing for the quiet companionship of fellow nocturnals. As usual, if I saw a light in a window or someone walking down the street, I was enormously relieved. Solidarity, friend. I’m here too. One night there were no lights on. No cars, no pedestrians, nothing. It was about 4am. That familiar panic bubbled up. Then I remembered the 24-hour deli and the hospital two blocks away. See, it’s okay. There’s always someone awake nearby.

And then I went back to bed and hoped I wouldn’t spontaneously combust.

Our week-long body-image extravaganza on The Outlier Collective concludes with Helen of Mother Made, who muses over the the banality of cellulite and our power to see ourselves however the fuck we want.

Please join us HERE.

 

The one and only La La is with us on The Outlier Collective today, talking about those body-image demons you meet in childhood, and how even after you get rid of them, those bastards sometimes come back to visit.

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The Goddess Weighs In on The Outlier Collective to say, among other things, that fat chicks really want to meet guys who aren’t embarrassed to be seen with them in public, for crying out loud.

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The Outlier Collective is proud today to feature a post by the uber-talented Jen of Sips of Jen and Tonic. Jen muses about how “healthy” equates to “thin” in today’s very deep and profound times.

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Today’s post on The Outlier Collective is a special treat. So many of us already know how to hate our bodies, but now BigLizzy from Big Body Beautiful is going to tell us how we can love them.

Please join us HERE.

is the name of today’s post on The Outlier Collective…a riveting, funny, and inspirational piece from Allison of The Body Pacifist about what it’s like to feel constantly judged by what you eat.

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Today is the first of a 7-day series on body image and body acceptance at The Outlier CollectiveGoldfish starts us off with a deeply moving and honest post about her struggles with her looks, and all of the huge hurdles she has overcome.  I admire her candidness as well as her tenacity.

Please join us HERE.